By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The day has finally arrived. Participants from all over took place in the full marathon on Philadelphia Marathon Weekend on Sunday. 

After a brief hiatus last year due to the pandemic, in-person racing returned to Philly this weekend. It’s the first time in two years runners are together. The races last year were virtual because of the pandemic.

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Kathleen Titus, the Race Director of Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, said runners have been waiting for this moment for two years.

“We also have a lot of runners that actually did all three races,” Kathleen Titus, the Race Director of the Philadelphia Marathon said. “They did the half marathon yesterday, into the 8k, and then they’re back today to do the marathon, so we had some challenging opportunities for them and they embraced it.”

Some 21,000 runners registered to take part in this weekend’s races. The half marathon and 8k took place Saturday. 

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend Returns After Virtual Year Due To Pandemic: 'It’s Just An Awesome Mental High'

“You run off the momentum of other people and you make friends while you’re running, and it’s just an awesome mental high,” Francine Neal, who ran the half marathon, said.

In 2:13:27, Mike Cheshire won overall, averaging 5 minutes per mile. Leslie Sexton was the fastest woman of the day, with a time of 2:28:33.

On Saturday during the half marathon and 8k, the weather was perfect for runners. 

The runners came from all 50 states, 38 countries, and range in age from 11 to 90 years old. This is the 27th year for the Philadelphia Marathon. 

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The Jadia family came to cheer on their loved ones 

“She has been very excited,” Kavita Jadia, who was cheering on her husband and daughter, said. “She wasn’t able to sleep last night. She’s 15 years old. Go Suhana!”

The race is Philadelphia’s only full-length marathon. The run will snake 26.2 miles through Center City, Old City, Queen Village, University City, West Philly, and Manayunk before ending in front of the Art Museum. 

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend Returns After Virtual Year Due To Pandemic: 'It’s Just An Awesome Mental High'

The marathon is also a fundraiser for the American Association for Cancer Research. So far this year, over $380,000 dollars have been raised. 

“We as a collective community, we are cancer’s fiercest opponent,” Mitch Stoller, of AACR, said. “Let me say that again, we are cancer’s fiercest opponent. And I mean that because our priority is really to make the lives of cancer patients and their families much better. And we’re going to do that by raising millions of dollars to fund the best research in the world.”

For full half marathon results, click here.

Eyewitness News reporters Howard Monroe and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this story.

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Click here to check out our Philadelphia Marathon Weekend guide.